Fantasy Baseball Draft-Day Decision: 5 Second Basemen to Avoid in 2012

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Fantasy Baseball Draft-Day Decision: 5 Second Basemen to Avoid in 2012
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There are a lot of reasons that people may suggest not drafting a player.  It could be based on injuries (both a high risk for one or the recovery of a previous one), potential loss of playing time, diminishing performance or various things in between. 

Let’s take a look at five second basemen I likely won’t be drafting in 2012.

 

Dustin Ackley, Seattle Mariners

He is a highly touted youngster and I will definitely be talking about him in depth as we progress throughout the offseason.  The question is, in yearly formats, is this going to be the season that he emerges as a must-use option?

There are actually a few factors working against him:

  • He plays in a pitcher’s park, so his offensive upside is immediately limited
  • The lineup is weak, even with the addition of Jesus Montero
  • He actually doesn’t have much power or speed potential

The last point may be the most important.  In 772 minor league AB, he had just 16 HR and 17 SB (in the Pacific Coast League he had just 14 HR in 483 AB).  He’ll be 24 years old to start the 2012 campaign, so I am not about to suggest that he’s reached his ceiling, but I want someone who is going to bring something to the table now, not a few years from now. 

A potential good average (and even that is not a guarantee) is not nearly enough for me to select him where he is currently coming off the board.

 

Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates

I’ve already talked about him, so my thoughts on him are pretty well known. 

It’s not that I think he’s going to be terrible, but I wouldn’t be looking toward him as my starting 2B.  He shouldn’t be hitting in the middle of the Pirates lineup (they have improved the group around him), meaning the RBI opportunities are not going to be there. 

Like Ackley, he also doesn’t offer much in the way or power or speed (12 HR/9 SB in ’11).

As a middle infielder, I would consider it, but he is currently being drafted as the 11th second baseman coming off the board (ADP of 143.62 according to Mock Draft Central). 

No thank you.  I’d rather draft someone like Kelly Johnson or Aaron Hill at the end of the draft. 

 

Howard Kendrick, Los Angeles Angels

It has nothing to do with his ability, because I do like him, but I feel like people are over-reaching to draft him (current ADP of 104.38 according to Mock Draft Central).  A lot of the hype for Kendrick at this point is centered around the power surge he had in 2011. However, is it really believable?

He posted a miniscule 26.5-percent fly ball rate, a trend for his career (28.1 percent).  That means that his 18 HR came courtesy of a 16.5-percent HR/FB, something he had never proven capable of previously. 

What about the fact that, from May through July, he had a total of two home runs?  He had a few hot streaks in 2011, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that the power is not really what the year-end number showed.

Again, it’s not to say that he doesn’t have tremendous talent, but I’d rather wait a few rounds and draft someone like Jason Kipnis or Jemile Weeks instead.

 

Daniel Murphy, New York Mets

Multiple-position eligibility is going to make Murphy an intriguing option, as does the fact that Citi Field is going to become more hitter-friendly.  The problem is that he is a man without a position, and I can’t imagine him being able to make it through the season as the team’s starter.

He has already proven that he can’t play the outfield and he can’t handle first base (plus, the Mets have significantly better options at each spot). 

His natural position is third base, so maybe an eventual David Wright trade opens the door for him there, but we can’t bank on that.  The fact is that for the past two seasons he has suffered knee injuries while playing second base, and he still is trying to learn the intricacies of the position.

As for his bat, he’s not as good as he looked in 2011.  He doesn’t offer much power, and his .320 average came courtesy of a .345 BABIP. 

The numbers are going to fall and, when coupled with his lack of a true position, he could find himself as a super utility player by year-end 2012.

 

Darwin Barney, Chicago Cubs

He was the Cubs' everyday second baseman in 2011, but that doesn’t mean that he deserved to be. 

He hit just .276 with two HR and nine SB in 529 AB.  Just consider that over his minor league career (1,560 AB), he managed just 11 HR and 34 SB.  Exactly what is there to like?

A lot of his potential value last season came courtesy of spending time in the second spot of the order (396 AB). 

However, things have changed this season, and I would be surprised to see him hit there again this year (if he even keeps his job) thanks to the addition of David DeJesus.  He didn’t offer much upside to begin with, but considering he’ll likely hit eighth in the lineup, he can easily be ignored.

Make sure to check out all of our 2012 rankings:

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